What is an antevasin?

Antevasin

अन्तेवासिन्

/aen/ti/vay/sin

I chose the name Antevasin Design because of the meaning of the word antevasin in Sanskrit.

Antevasin is formed from two Sanskrit words; ante meaning end, near the end or edge and vasin is to live or one who lives. Hence, an antevasin is "One who lives on the edge" or literally "one who lives at the end".

Like many English speakers, I came across this word in Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love". Below is a quote in which she recounts her first encounter with the word:

"...I saw it during my last week at the Ashram, I was reading through an old text about Yoga, when I found a description of ancient spiritual seekers. A Sanskrit word appeared in the paragraph: ANTEVASIN. It means, ‘one who lives at the border.’ In ancient times this was a literal description. It indicated a person who had left the bustling center of worldly life to go live at the edge of the forest where the spiritual masters dwelled. The antevasin was not of the villagers anymore - not a householder with a conventional life. But neither was he yet a transcendent - not one of those sages who live deep in the unexplored woods, fully realized. The antevasin was an in-betweener. he was a border-dweller. He lived in sight of both worlds, but he looked toward the unknown. And he was a scholar."

Antevasin describes those people who live on the edge of the forest; they are not as detached from conventional society as the forest dwellers, nor are they entirely entrenched in life in the city. They live on the border of these two worlds and are able to understand both and take the knowledge of the forest dwellers to those in the city, and vice versa.

Similarly, I see myself as someone who lives on the edge of two worlds. I am not an eco-warrior who lives outside of and detached from society, nor a conformist city-dweller who designs without reference to our natural environment. I am someone who enjoys designing homes that support you and your way of life, I just like to make sure they don't cost the earth.